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Scholarship named for Kaufman at BC3

Fund approaches goal for endowment

An outpouring of support for the late Caitlyn Kaufman has helped the scholarship named in her memory at Butler County Community College to grow to $10,000 in the short time since she was shot and killed while driving to work in Nashville.

Kaufman, 26, a native of Chicora and a 2012 Butler High School graduate, was killed Dec. 3 while driving to St. Thomas West Hospital, where she worked as a nurse in the intensive care unit. A 21-year-old man from East Nashville has been charged with murder in her death.

Kaufman graduated from BC3 with a nursing degree in 2018 after receiving a bachelor's degree in athletic training from Clarion University in 2016.

Caitlyn's mother, Diane Kaufman, once worked as a secretary in BC3's emergency medical service training program, and her former coworkers contacted the BC3 Education Foundation about creating a scholarship fund in Caitlyn's memory, soon after learning about her death.

A few days later, the Kaufman family reached out to BC3 to say they wanted to start an endowed scholarship fund, said Ruth Purcell, foundation executive director.

Those initial donations have been added to the donations BC3 has received from employees, community members and businesses. The Caitlyn Kaufman '18 Legacy Nursing Scholarship has a $10,000 fund. Another $5,000 is needed to make the scholarship an endowment that would provide a scholarship to a nursing student every year, Purcell said.

“It's just one way to feel that some good might come out of a tragic situation,” Purcell said about the donations.

“Nursing was Caitlyn's passion,” said Steve Onufrak, Caitlyn's uncle. “She was a stellar student. She would want to help other students reach their dream in nursing.”

He said the family is pleased with the amount of support the fund has received in just a few weeks.

“It's really wonderful, the support we got from the community,” he said.

Kiley Cribbs of Armstrong County, the coordinator of BC3's EMS training program, worked with Diane Kaufman and reached out to the foundation office about starting the scholarship.

“Our goal is to have the scholarship fund get above the $15,000 mark, so it can become an endowment in her name for nursing students to carry on her legacy,” Cribbs said.

“All she ever wanted to do was help people. Caitlyn got a lot of that from Diane. She would do anything for anybody. That's why the fund grew so fast.”

Caitlyn used to visit her mother during breaks between classes and became friends with her coworkers.

“We all became very close,” Cribbs said. “Both Caitlyn and Diane are incredible people. Everybody who ever met them just loved them. They're like family.”

The 50 donations made to the scholarship fund have ranged from $25 to $2,500, and some came with notes written by the donors.

“One said Caitlyn grew up with my kids and she was very nice,” Purcell said. “We really get a feel for a young person who lost her life.”

The first Caitlyn Kaufman '18 Legacy Nursing Scholarship will be at least $500 and will be awarded to a student in the fall 2021 semester, she said.

To qualify for the scholarship, a student must be enrolled as a sophomore in the nursing program with a grade-point average of at least 3.0. Preference will be given to students who participated in high school athletics, she said.

The Caitlyn Kaufman '18 Legacy Nursing Scholarship will be added to the list of 130 scholarships available at BC3 in April when students begin applying for admission, Purcell said.

Information on donating to the scholarship fund can be found on the BC3 Education Foundation website at https://www.bc3.edu/about/support/foundation/index.html.

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